Ezra is a Director at Founders Intelligence (FI). Before joining FI, he was co-founder and CEO of art social discovery platform ArtStack, gaining millions of users globally. He was previously a strategy consultant at Bain & Company, head of strategy at the Serpentine Gallery and has lectured on innovation at universities including ESCP Europe, Central Saint Martins and Sotheby’s Institute. He holds a BA in Politics and MPhil in History from Cambridge University, an MA in History of Art from the Courtauld Institute of Art, and a law degree.
1. What motivates you?
I get excited about creating stuff people love because it’s better than what they had before — all the more so when it’s a new concept landing in customers’ hands. Imagining solutions and experiences, and designing them to go with the grain of human behaviour is the fun connective tissue between political philosophy, new business concepts, and the creative world — three areas I’m particularly interested in.
2. What is your entrepreneurial power?
I think entrepreneurial power has three factors: 1) ability to see the world as it could be, rather than as it is, 2) persistence (and resilience) to push that vision forward in the face of extreme adversity and 3) the ingenuity to find the 80/20 workarounds when time and money mean the ideal path isn’t available. I ran a start-up for 5+ years and would say 1 and 3 thankfully come easily to me and I’m able to do 2 but you wouldn’t wish some of those tough days on your worst enemy.
3. What does uncommon impact mean to you?
Uncommon impact has to go beyond business-as-usual. It’s distinctive, exciting and potentially seismic — and once it’s happened it’s so natural that you’d never voluntarily go back to things as they were.
4. What have you engaged with while at FI?
I’ve led strategy projects to define new revenue opportunities for companies like Shell and Diageo and how they’ll attack them; I’ve worked with multinationals to help establish their innovation teams and structures; and I’ve run teams incubating start-ups for corporates, where we establish and validate the USP, come up with the business plan and go-to-market, and figure out what team and budget are needed to make it a success. I also lead Founders Intelligence’s marketing efforts and in the past year have contributed to our branding, feedback / evaluation, and hiring processes.
5. What is the most interesting problem you’ve tackled at FI?
I’m really proud of a start-up we helped conceive and incubate for a FTSE100 company tackling food waste and spoiling across the fruit and veg supply chain — it’s a huge sustainability issue as well as a massive cost for retailers, and the start-up’s now got pilots with major players in multiple markets, funding and a great team.
I’m also now working on an initiative focusing on founders’ mental health and thinking about how to ameliorate or ideally prevent some of the circumstances that can be incredibly destructive. The founder role is riddled with depression triggers; if we can effectively tackle a few of these issues we could maybe make some of the tough times a little less tough and hopefully prevent a lot of unnecessary pain. It’s not an FI project but it’s a subject that’s close to a lot of our hearts and we’re lucky to be in a position where we can make a difference in our industry.